A Perfect Expression of Place and Time
STAND ANYWHERE ON THE GROUNDS of Alloro Vineyards in Oregon’s Chehalem Mountains, close your eyes for a moment, take a few deep breaths and open your eyes again. It’s easy to take a flight of fancy that you’re somewhere in the Mediterranean. The buildings, the landscaping, the aroma of the Italian herb garden, the view of the southwest-sloping vineyards and the valley and the hills beyond evoke a transformative sense of being on an Italian family wine estate.
Alloro founder David Nemarnik spent much of his youth traveling with family and visiting relatives in Italy, an experience that left an indelible impression and inspired his vision of Alloro Vineyards. After a meticulous search for land with just the right soil qualities, Nemarnik found what he was looking for on 78 acres of Laurel Ridge, about 40 minutes southwest of Portland. He takes a hands-on approach and has assumed the role of vineyard manager, a natural one following his former career in the produce business.
Nemarnik met winemaker Tom Fitzpatrick, who came on board to craft Alloro’s wines. With a graduate education in enology and viticulture from UC Davis, and hands-on training in the Napa Valley, New Zealand and Burgundy, Fitzpatrick is well-versed in working with the often-challenging pinot noir fruit. His philosophy is to allow the wine to be a natural expression of place at a moment in time. This implies a minimalist approach to winemaking, and, indeed, Fitzpatrick’s approach is hands-off. Handling of the fruit is gentle, meticulous and minimal. But he will intervene, if necessary, to achieve desired texture and retain desired aromas.
In the tasting room, as soon as you sample Alloro’s pinot noirs, your Mediterranean flight of fancy ends. You’re transported back to the Willamette Valley, a region that has staked its claim as a contender among the world’s best pinot noir growing regions. The evidence of this is in your glass.
Alloro has produced some winners. The 2014 Alloro Justina Pinot Noir landed a Wine Enthusiast score of 96, and the 2014 Alloro Riservata Pinot Noir a 95. Before you leave the tasting room, treat your palate to a sip of the Alloro Vino Nettare Dessert Wine, a delightful muscat-riesling blend.
Buy your favorite bottle, grab a few glasses and enjoy a perfect expression of place and time with a view of the vineyard. Alloro Vineyards is located only five miles from Newberg, a central point for touring many of the region’s AVAs. To learn more, visit the winery’s website at allorovineyard.com. For more about visiting Newberg, go to chehalemvalley.org